Vulvitis refers to inflammation of the vulva, which is soft skin folds outside the vagina. The vulva is the female external genitalia, the outer part of the female reproductive system. The vulva consists of two skin folds, the labia majora (the outer fold) and labia minora (the inner fold). Vulvitis is a symptom due to irritation, infection, injuries, and allergies around the area. Treating vulvitis can be a tricky one as determining the specific cause can be difficult.
There are various causes that can contribute to vulvitis. In most cases, they are due to irritation by different types of irritants. Some other causes can be due to infections, sexually transmitted diseases, skin problems, douching and medications.
a) Irritants or actions that caused irritations :
– scented or colored toilet paper
– Perfumed soaps or bubble baths
– Laundry detergents, especially enzyme-activated cold water formulas
– Vaginal sprays, deodorants, and powders
– Tampons or pads
– Hot tub and swimming pool water
– Horseback riding
- b) Infections or sexually transmitted diseases :
– pubic lice
– mites (scabies)
– Human papillomavirus infection
– molluscum contagiosum
– fungal infection
- c) Skin problems :
- d) Douching (spray or wash the vagina with water)
- e) Medications
– Antibacterial or antifungal cream or ointment
– Cream or ointment medicine to treat genital warts
– Contraceptive creams, lubricants
Symptoms of vulvitis :
The passage below described the most common symptoms of vulvitis. Some individual may experience different symptoms as described below. Please consult a doctor online if you are unsure.
– Redness on the labia and other parts of the vulva
– Vulva swelling
– blisters (clear or fluid-filled, happen when the vulva is particularly irritated)
– painful, scaly, thickened, whitish patches (more prevalent in chronic vulvitis) on the vulva
Who are the teens that are at risk of getting vulvitis?
Any female teenagers with allergies, infections, sensitivities or diseases can develop vulvitis. Girls who have not reached puberty are prone to getting vulvitis due to an insufficient level of estrogen production in their body.
Before any treatment is given, doctor or healthcare providers need to determine the cause of your vulvitis. At the same time, they need to determine the specific treatment according to some criteria such as :
Criteria for specific treatment :
- overall health
- Sexual activity
- Medical history (any past medical conditions)
- The severity of the symptoms
- Causes of the condition
- Tolerance towards the medications, therapy or procedures
- Expectations towards the course of treatment
- Your opinion or preference
After a series of questions, the doctor may need to perform a physical examination which involves the pelvic examination. Some tests may be needed to help rule out more serious causes of vulvitis, such as a urinalysis, tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and necessary blood tests.
Only when these steps are performed, the doctors will proceed to prescribe treatment for their patient. The treatment that may be given include :
- a) Avoiding the irritants if they caused is found to be due to irritation of the vulva.
- b) Wearing loose-fitting clothes and cotton undergarments
- c) Application of steroidal cream
- d) Application of estrogen cream
- e) Taking sitz bath to relieve the itchiness
These treatments should be done according to your doctor’s advice and after the consultation. If you have any doubt, please talk to your healthcare providers or doctors immediately. Read on vulvitis guide by DoctorOnCall for more information.